Bank profits up. On paper.
This appears to have more to do with eliminating “mark to market” than with improved business practices.
“With our capital and assets, stressed as they have been, we can go back to focusing all our attention on managing our business and restoring value,” Citigroup Inc. Chief Executive Officer Vikram Pandit said after Geithner’s examinations were completed.
The revival may be short-lived. Analysts who have examined the quarterly profits and government tests say that accounting rule changes and rosy assumptions are making the institutions look healthier than they are.
Citigroup’s $1.6 billion in first-quarter profit would vanish if accounting were more stringent, says Martin Weiss of Weiss Research Inc. in Jupiter, Florida. “The big banks’ profits were totally bogus,” says Weiss, whose 38-year-old firm rates financial companies. “The new accounting rules, the stress tests: They’re all part of a major effort to put lipstick on a pig.”
But, hey, these guys are the geniuses who crashed the world economy.
They must know what they are doing.
And what’s Sarah Palin got to with it, anyway?